See: 500 (Days of Summer)

22 Jul


The term “romantic comedy” implies a sort of what-you-see-is-what-you-get relationship with a film. You might laugh, like the scene in The Proposal where Betty White and Sandra Bullock dance to the Ying Yang Twins classic “Get Low”. You might cry. Emphasis on the word “you” though…I saw The Notebook and those are 2 hours I won’t be getting back. More than anything, though, you’ll get a predictable formula, with the end result giving the audience what they want – a neatly, wrapped, highly-functional relationship between 2 individuals, who more likely than not are incompatible by “real world” standards. 

500 (Days of Summer) strays from this mold by recounting the relationship of two disgruntled twenty-somethings who meet at a greeting card company office in none other than Downtown Los Angeles. (I, of course, assumed it was NY, since movies normally aren’t set in Downtown LA). This isn’t a traditional love story, because only one of the characters is in love. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was phenomenal as lovestruck Tom, and reminded me of James Franco (that’s good news for you, JGL!) I liked how this film was told out of order, but more than that, I liked how this story was not cutesy. It felt pretty real, actually. Relationships are not always clearly defined, and it’s not unusual for one person to be left mystified, confused, and befuddled as to why what seemed like the foundation for a solid relationship never led to anything substantial. This film gave a glimpse in to what real relationships are like, but managed to weave together cynicism and heartbreak in a comedic way.

My favorite scene juxtaposed Tom’s expectations for an evening with his non-girlfriend (Zooey Deschanel’s Summer) with what happened in reality. Reality’s disappointment is something every moviegoer can relate to, and the visual depiction of the inevitable feeling of “New Year’s Eve syndrome” people often experience was unusual, appealing, and most importantly, real. 

I also appreciated Tom’s relationship with his wise-beyond-her-years little sis, as well as his earnest sarcasm. After things don’t go quite his way with Summer, he turns in a lack-luster greeting card to his boss which states: “Roses are Red/Violets are Blue/Fuck You/Whore.”

The artsy-side of me that appears to be trying pretty hard to assert itself lately appreciated the stunning shots of Downtown LA, Tom’s attention to architecture, and his quick sketch of the city skyline on Summer’s forearm. That skyline would make a pretty sick tattoo. Just saying.

Go see 500 (Days of Summer). You will laugh, you could cry, but you will definitely be intrigued, engaged, and escape the abusive summer heat in a highly satisfying way. 

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